(Nuclear Blast Records)

Enter through the ancient gates of the true Swedish Doom Metal realm… How many years has it been actually since the Swedish Doom Metal messiah CANDLEMASS released their last studio album with one and only Messiah Marcolin?! Huh, I can hardly remember any longer… 15 or 16 years or something? Well, never mind because the original vocalist, ‘the hooded head monk’ Messiah has returned back to CANDLEMASS after trying his wings out in some other bands and projects (MEMENTO MORI still rings the bell, doesn’t it?) for years. And what do we have here on menu then? 10 new songs the most well-crafted, strongest and most pummeling CANDLEMASS songs music-wise for many years… you heard me! To be absolutely honest with you, when I got a promotional copy from this latest self-titled CANDLEMASS album to my anxiously sweating hands and placed it nervously into my CD-player for the first time, it got stuck in there for days, without me even noticing it. I was playing the disc around over and over again with a huge enthusiasm and excitement, somehow mysteriously loosing my contact to this world, forgetting basically which day or month it was while enjoying the disc non-stop for hours in a row. Woah… like getting lost in time could be something new to me, ha! Anyway, I think it’s even rightful to say CANDLEMASS have returned back to the very roots of Doom with this absolutely wonderful package of a damn well-made Swedish Doom Metal that harks back to the times of the band’s 1st four albums a very familiar way, with a sound that has attached a modern touch to these new CANDLEMASS songs. Most importantly, however, CANDLEMASS have done an album that sounds extremely good right from the start to the very end, kind of never letting a listener a slightest chance to get bored when spinning the album back and forth, and most likely in repeated sessions. Leif Edling and his other ‘candle holders’ simply must have been hugely inspired and motivated during the song writing process for this album because the songs have been built around very rich melodies, strong and catchy as fuck riffs and rhythms – and overall the songs seem to push each other forward very effortlessly, one song after another song, creating a somewhat breath-taking musical experience altogether. An always so familiar CANDLEMASS-trademark has also nicely been sealed on the top of each song so that every time you go and pick up any song off the album randomly, you are about to notice quite easily even this sounds like CANDLEMASS and no other band comes even close to sound like them. Of course Messiah Marcolin has a lot of to do with that as his voice truly provides a very special vibe to the CANDLEMASS tunes, but I guess it’s also safe to say CANDLEMASS can be noticed by a host of other familiar elements as well – and not only Messiah’s absolutely outstanding vocal performance in their songs. You certainly know what I’m talking about here, don’t you? In my opinion CANDLEMASS reaches its finest moments on this very album in question in the most heavily rollin’ songs such as ‘Seven Silver Keys’ (what a majestic, massive feel this song has… oh my GOD!), ‘Copernicus’ (which surprises by a few more eerie moments for sure – bringing BLACK SABBATH to my mind more than once for some strange reason…?), ‘The Man Who Fell from the Sky’ (a dead limb-heavy instrumental song with a frighteningly gloomy atmosphere), ‘Witches’ (due to its nearly hypnotic yet kinda familiar riff – and rhythm fests in it), ‘Spellbreaker’ (with a true blessing for some of the most wonderfully composed doomy riffs ever. Leif is a fuckin’ genious!) and ‘The Day and the Light’ which indeed proves quite clearly why CANDLEMASS has always been considered sort of quintessence of the whole Doom Metal genre since they appeared in the Metal scene for the first time with the classic “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus” album that indeed pretty much set the standards for this particular genre for years to come. This is an insanely heavy load of some of the most convincing and magnetic CANDLEMASS stuff created ever; right up there with my two personal favorite CANDLEMASS albums “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus” and “Nightfall”. Essential… Classic… Captivating… A true masterpiece… Most probably the album of the year for me…

Luxi Lahtinen

Luxi Lahtinen

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